Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Controversial U of Colorado Professor Denied Job Reinstatement, Back Pay

Ward Churchill, the controversial University of Colorado professor, was denied the chance to get his job back by a judge, even though a jury said he had been improperly fired.

According to a story in the Denver Post, Churchill taught ethnic studies at U of Colorado - Boulder for years, but was fired after the University had "determined he had plagiarized and falsified scholarly work for years."

The firing came on the heels of an essay Churchill wrote, calling some of the victims of the September 11 attacks "little Eichmanns."

The University said they fired Churchill for academic misconduct, but he says he was fired for exercising his right to free speech.

"I regret that I have but one life to give for my career," said Churchill. "I have a dream that one day, little administrators and little professors will be able to join hands and walk together as colleagues."

(Okay, he didn't really say that.)

Churchill had won a jury trial, after a jury decided that he was fired in retaliation for his "little Eichmanns" essay. And he was handsomely rewarded for his efforts.

They gave him a buck.

So it was up to Denver District Judge Larry Naves to decide whether Churchill should get his old job back or get paid for the salary he had lost.

It took Judge Naves 42 pages to say "nuh-uh" on both counts. He also said that if Churchill were reinstated, it would show that the university tolerated moronic comparisons of terror victims to genocidal war criminal Nazis.

Only he called it "academic misconduct."

"The evidence was credible that professor Churchill will not only be the most visible member of the department of ethnic studies if reinstated, but that reinstatement will create the perception in the broader academic community that the department of ethnic studies tolerates research misconduct," Naves wrote in his decision.

Naves also did not order CU to pay for Churchill's lost salary, since Churchill has actually turned down several job offers, all while lecturing and speaking to supplement his income.

When reached for comment, Churchill made it sound like he wasn't going to give up that easily. "We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

Actually no, that's not true. Churchill was unavailable for comment.

It seems like Mr. Can't Keep Away From Controversy can't think of anything clever to say when he gets a judicial smackdown. Don't look for this to be over anytime soon.

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